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New research degree supervisors

We support emerging postgraduate research student developers develop their pedagogies of supervision (which incorporate quality assurance processes) as they move into coaching, advisory and managerial roles for developing postgraduate research students.

We have your success in mind

All research degree supervisors recognise the importance of their role. Managing research degree students and their projects for the first time offers a great deal of satisfaction; but these roles also come with a great deal of responsibility - supervisors undoubtedly ‘make or break’ the experience for their students. The function of this course is to support supervisors so they can better support their students; thereby enabling Sunderland to offer the best and most productive postgraduate student experience which is possible.

In feedback, staff praised the delivery format of this course. When asked for the strength of this course, responses included:

“The informal style of the course which put attendees at ease encouraging engagement and sharing of opinions and ideas. A variety of speakers and topics retained interest.”

“Highly informative (with) excellent delivery.”

“Practical sessions were good.” 

Many participants have suggests that they will translate this course into doing some aspect(s) of supervision more effectively, which included: “Work closer with the students”; “Guiding research students through their research projects”; “cross i's and dot t's when it comes to material published/produced”; “Understand the different approaches to supervision and some of the issues that might arise during one”; “Planning and preparation of annual monitoring”; “Adherence to university policy and procedures”; “I felt that I was encouraged to work with each student as an individual to meet their specific needs in supervision, something I felt intuitively, and now I feel I will be able to implement that effectively.”

Our programme is designed to

  • Help new supervisors to understand more about the context of research within the University of Sunderland, the administrative processes, and supervisory pedagogies; so they can ensure that their supervisory experience is positive and can be shared and built upon to enhance our collective research capability and reputation.
  • Explicitly explore decision making to build a bank of well-reasoned supervisory approaches for meeting their and their students’ learning aspirations, which can be used in a range of situations with a range of students.
  • Include workshops to support and assess postgraduate research students in progress reviews and Viva examinations; to enable new supervisors to better understand and more easily take part in supporting the quality processes.


Our teaching approaches this year

  • Offer a two day face-to-face workshop programme.
  • Complement this course with a flexible learning and researcher-centred approach with blended learning opportunities which recognise that every researcher is on their own career path using materials on the Vitae website.


The development programme

A large array of online learning materials can be accessed using Sunderland’s Vitae subscription; which are used in personal development planning / continuing professional development for supervisors to complement our face-to-face course. These will be curated in Canvas.

The programme provides staff with the opportunity to consider

  • Day 1 – the supervisory context, aligning their ideologies with pedagogies, using official project and student development tools, and clarifying staff-student expectations
  • Day 2 – the procedural aspects of a research degree, including using SURE and publishing outputs (and other library support), Professional Doctorate assessments and MPhil and PhD reviews

More information

Email: celt@sunderland.ac.uk

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